Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Almost - Wordless Wednesday - Gym

Fighting depression requires a multi-angled approach. One thing that has always worked for me as a huge energy and spirit lifter is exercise. Not a casual walk.. I'm talking flat out, running, striding, cycling til the sweat drips from your chin to your elbows and to the floor. 
First I LOVE to RUN.
Love . It. 

3 km in 21 minutes. I'm okay with that - around 9 kms/hr .. 
Then onto the elliptical trainer .. I can't express to you how much I hate this machine but the endorphins are flying so what the heck.....

 Please forgive blurry photo, hard to take happy snaps when you are striding and cursing yourself for thinking this was a good idea.
After 15 mins of hate-filled elliptical-ness - a cruisy cycle.

I admit I don't think too hard on the bike, I cycle hard and read my Kindle. When I'm bored with the story I get off.
Then I stretch.
And I feel good.

8 kilos have waved goodbye, which tells you something of the crappy, not-moving, not-eating-right place I was in.
Onward and upward from here.
PS I still hate the elliptical trainer.

What do you do to get in the right head space?

Sunday, March 24, 2013

DPCON13 - Finding my tribe

 ""Meeting up with other bloggers is like coming home.
Like finding your tribe."

As the plane touched down in Sydney I took a deep breath and mustered up every ounce of courage I could find. 
I was here for a Digital Parents blogging conference, over 150 bloggers from across Australia all coming together. 
I was afraid.
Afraid I wouldn't fit in.
Afraid my little blog is too small, unworthy.
And yet I didn't turn tail and return home.
I faced the fear and stepped forward.
A leap of faith.

From Tuesday lunchtime until my return home on Friday, this week has held so many highs it is impossible name them all.

I was in a conference room with so many people I love, people who's writing inspires me, makes me laugh, and sob. People who understand my urge to write.
It took effort to restrain my eagerness to meet everyone at once, to act cool even when inside I was churning with uncertainty and excitement. I don't think it is a stretch to say most of us in the room were all doing the same thing. 

I met so many people, some who I had already befriended on twitter and through blogposts, but others were a total surprise.I found my twitter peeps - the ones I turn to almost daily for support, a laugh and comradeship. I found the beautiful women from the The Kids Are Allright community. I found my people.

On Wednesday night I read one of my blog posts aloud. To see acceptance and appreciation on the faces of listeners was an unexpected delight. I felt as though I fitted.

This week, for a few days, I felt part of the community. I found my tribe.
I have returned energised and inspired, humbled by other speakers stories. I am once again, in love with the notion of writing.

Where do you find your energy and inspiration to write?

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

20 Years

Once upon a time there was a little boy

and a little girl.

They grew up in different cities, in very different families.

She was (mostly) a good girl who came home on time, who got good grades and who had only had one boyfriend.

He was a bit naughty, left home at 16 and had plenty of girlfriends :-)

And then they met.

After three weeks of dating the boy told the girl he was going to marry her.
She laughed.

18 months later......

Just babies were we, me at 20 and he just 21.

What a spunk! A very tall spunk!

She's still (mostly) a good girl
He's still a bit naughty.

20 years.
Happy Anniversary Babe. 
I love you

Monday, March 18, 2013

Why do you blog?

Tomorrow I'm boarding a plane and winging it to Sydney to attend the Digital Parents Conference.
I am so excited and a wee bit nervous. So many new people to meet, experiences to be had, and so much grownup food to be eaten.
I'm rooming with lovely Twitchy from Twitchy Corner and she has promised to hold my hand if I freak out because ....


Very scary. I'm reading one of my posts at The Mother Tongue session, so if you are attending, please come and smile encouragingly !
Ms Twitchy is also speaking, the next day (Yay Twitchy!!) and is already making veiled threats to lock herself in the bathroom. We are not so very brave when we are not in front of a computer screen.

When I tell my real-life friends where I am going, they don't get it. They don't blog, and only a couple of them read my blog with any regularity. They don't understand why I do it, what the point of it is.
And honestly, I struggle to explain it myself.
Except that I love to write, and sometimes the words are bubbling around inside me needing to get out.

As for content.... 
I love to share, and I'm not ashamed of the hiccups and milestones of my life.
Some of them have been awesome, positive and wonderful, joyfilled and sublime. Some of them have been ugly, awkward, heartbreaking or just plain embarrassing. Anyone reading about them can choose to think of me as a bit of an airhead, a flake, a crazy person ... that's okay.
Because every now and then someone reads my blog and it reaches them in a moment just like mine. And they know they aren't alone. They aren't the only airhead, flake or crazy person... 
That's why I blog. Because none of us should ever feel alone.

Why do you blog?

Thursday, March 14, 2013

How much do you flush ?

RAMS Loose Change Round-Up, focusing on the small changes in life that can have a huge impact on the success of a budget.

One of the first golden rules of any weight loss diet is to not drink your calories. In every glass of just about anything other than water, there are sneaky calories that are swallowed easily, in seconds and land firmly on our hips and butts. To cut back on calorie intake, one of the quickest and easiest changes in lifestyle is to drink water.

If your budget needs to go on a diet.. the same principle applies. 
At work every day, I see most of my workmates buy a coffee at morning break. It's a communal time, and you can hear the groan of pleasure as they take their first sip. Several say "This is my one luxury in the day." ... Then conversation starts and the rest of the cup of Joe is drunk without much thought, the eco friendly cup tossed in the recycling and back to work we go.
And it seems like a small luxury.. $3.50 for a cup of hot, rich, wake-me-up heaven. 

Twenty minutes later, there is a queue in the ladies room as the liquid does what it does and disappears down the toilet.

Here's a nasty little fact.
One cup of coffee each day, 5 days a week for a year is $910 , all flushed down the toilet. Literally.

A bottle of Coke or other soda is similar in cost, and in the same way, flushed down the toilet in less than an hour.

Even cutting back to two cups a week will free up $546 in one year to put towards something important. Or special. Or truly luxurious. 

Are you flushing away nearly one thousand dollars each year on a small luxury? Can you really call it small?

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Staying on Budget

Miss 8 was counting her money last week. She has collected 'throw away' coins, the little ones that most people see as such a small value they are irrelevant. She was pretty excited when she declared she had $14.70 and only needed 30 more cents to be able to get the Barbie doll she has been admiring at the store. Those small coins, almost without value, have come together and guess what... when they are added together they make a huge difference to a small girl. She has saved, worked for some, resisted the urge to spend on lollies and now her goal is so close she can almost touch it. It is her very first lesson in budgeting and spending.

Rams is running a campaign right now called RAMS Loose Change Round-Up, focusing on the small changes in life that can have a huge impact on the success of a budget.

With 4 kids ( 3 of whom count as adults in the food budgeting), 2 dogs, a cat and a mortgage, school fees and general life, money and budgeting are an inevitable part of everyday life for us.

When we were first married with a small baby, we had no money. I mean NO money. I used to whip the margarine to make it go further. We were budgeted down to the last cent and there was not enough money left over for a coffee with a friend. Times were tough but they taught me skills that have stayed throughout 20 years of marriage.

Even though nowadays we can be more relaxed with the budget, I still have a meal plan for the week. I shop according to the menu, and anything that isn't on the menu list or a staple such as washing detergent goes in the shopping trolley seat section.
At the end of my tour of the supermarket, I re-examine what is in the seat section and decide if I am willing to spend part of my grocery money on those items. Sometimes it's a resounding 'yes' ( hello TimTams on sale!! ) but often 6 or 7 of the items are returned to the shelf as I don't really want or need them. It's a simple shopping tactic that has saved me from many impulse purchases, and kept me on track with my grocery budget.

Loose change is often loosely spent, without a great deal of thought. When you start seeing your loose change as the basis for a saving plan, it doesn't take long for you to change your thinking about the coin section of your wallet. 

One very small saving tactic I use in our home is to declare one denomination of coin 'illegal'.
In my home any $2 coins are cleared out of my wallet at the end of each day and dropped into a cheap tin moneybox. It is a small amount to remove from a wallet, less the cost of a cup of coffee, but saved up, those little golden circles have allowed us to have fun with our kids guilt-free. 

If you save $2 a day for a year, that amounts to $730 ! Plenty of money for a couple of nights away as a family, or a romantic getaway.

I don't stick to this religiously, sometimes there are no $2 coins, sometimes there are several. Sometimes I know I'm going to need them, but as much as possible, I stash them away. It's only a small thing but every little bit adds up, just as Miss 8 has started to discover.

What are your best budget tips? 

Monday, March 11, 2013

Going barefoot

Aspie boy has a tight-knit group of loyal friends who simply accept him for who he is, quirks and all. He went to the pub with his mates on Friday night.  

As he is an adult, I have been relegated to the back row, worrying from afar that he will be safe but by 4am I was wide awake and starting to get agitated..... I had told him to ring me when he was ready to come home, and so far, no call.

Finally, thankfully, I heard him shuffling up the driveway, heard the gate rattle as he climbed over it, and listened as he tried to unlock the back door (several attempts were needed before success).
I sighed, rolled over and went to sleep, happy now my boy was home.

In the late morning he emerged from his room.
"I don't have any shoes"
"Well you must have, you walked home"
He chuckles .."No, I walked home in socks. But I have more money than when I went out. 
I'm pretty sure I sold my shoes at the pub."

I'm not sure who got taken advantage of - Aspie boy who was left without shoes, or the poor shmuck who paid $20 for a 2 year old pair of Kmart sneakers.

Aspie boy is happy. Barefoot, but happy.

Monday, March 4, 2013


Imagine .... you are sitting in your dining room on a sunny Autumn morning, eating breakfast, you can see the road from here. 

The gardens, pretty flowers, little birds on the telegraph wires, and a deranged woman in her pink pajamas chasing a small but determined fluffy brown puppy down the street.

That would be me.

Yes there I was this morning, boobs a-bouncing, no shoes, and my classiest pair of K-mart PJ's chasing the naughtiest cavoodle in Australia.

He thought it was hilarious.
Me...not so much.

I managed to nab him on the main road, casually ignoring the cars taking kids to school, grown-ups going to work, the builders working on the site across the road.
I tried to act as though it was perfectly natural, if not entirely fashionable to be out about town in my nightwear. Yes this bed-hair is the very latest in hair fashion!  Bra's?? Pisshh , so un-necessary.
I hauled the mangy mutt  precious puppy home, him so sure that we had just had the most wonderful bonding moment.

In the house, things got quiet.

"That was fun ! Wasn't that fun ???? "

"Oh dear, she looks a bit cross. And Manic. And a little unhinged. I'll pretend I can't see her"

"You know what? I'm just going to put myself in the naughty corner, to save you the trouble. I'll just lie here and zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz"

My boobs may never recover.

Sunday, March 3, 2013


It's been a rough week. A rough few weeks actually, or months.

I have felt myself sinking lower and lower, my energy reserves and my ability to laugh just drifted away. The numbness invaded me and it lays like a heavy blanket holding me down.
I recognise this feeling and it leads to a very sad place.

So this week I went to the Doctor. A new doctor because in my little town you need to make an appointment three months in advance to see your own GP.
I think the fact that I started bawling before he closed the door gave away my fragile state of mind.

The short story is, I have got some help, and yes, some medication. I have made some plans and can see I need to be a little kinder to myself.

I've tried to be honest with you about my past struggles and see no reason to be less than open right now. Be patient with me.  The posts are not springing from my fingertips right now but I am here, and there is clear hope on the horizon.

                                                                         photo credit